Author Topic: Sir Arthur Bliss  (Read 26500 times)

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Offline sound67

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2007, 02:25:32 PM »
Still MUCH better than the Stromberg. His version goes to show that "where there's a will, there's a way" is just plain wrong!
"Vivaldi didn't compose 500 concertos. He composed the same concerto 500 times" - Igor Stravinsky

"Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours." - Norman Lebrecht

tjguitar

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2007, 07:22:33 PM »
Right, thank you, in the order bin then! :)


What did you think, Harry?

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2007, 09:58:37 AM »
I can recommend two recent issues. A historical recording (Griller Quartet) of String Quartet 1 and 2 on Dutton (super-budget) and, in particular, Hugo Rignold's unrivalled version of Meditations on a Theme by John Blow (possibly Bliss's masterpiece), with the Music for Strings on Lyrita.

I have a number of recordings of the Blow Meditations but Rignold's is in a class of its own with a gripping urgency and visionary quality not found, IMHO, elsewhere.A great performance of a moving and powerful score.

Strongly recommended

It's at the top of the "November Releases" below:

http://www.lyrita.co.uk/
« Last Edit: December 17, 2007, 10:00:13 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2008, 12:06:15 PM »
I was interested in reading the obituaries of the late, great Vernon Handley of his close friendship with Bliss. Apparently Vernon Handley thought that Bliss's choral symphony 'Morning Heroes' was the most moving work he had ever come across (notwithstanding the absence of a wind-machine  ;D) from an initial reading of the score. Morning Heroes was, I believe, Charles's Groves's finest hour in the recording studio and his EMI recording was reissued in a fine double album a while back.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2008, 12:10:22 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Christo

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2008, 12:18:06 PM »
(notwithstanding the absence of a wind-machine  ;D)

 ;D
… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2008, 12:26:03 PM »
Another fine recording pairs Britten and Bliss chamber music on the Cedille label.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2008, 12:40:23 PM »
;D

A sad and lamentable misjudgment on the part of Sir Arthur Bliss which undoubtedly merits an extended, in depth and unmistakably erudite discussion in the course of which we shall all of course fall out repeatedly and call each other names ;) ;) ;D :)

(Sorry!)

Offline Guido

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2008, 04:08:02 PM »
I love Bliss' music - so much good stuff - chiefly the wonderful cello concerto and the Music for Strings, but am I the only Bliss fan that has no love for the Colours Symphony. I find it extremely tedious.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2008, 11:51:23 PM »
Another fine recording pairs Britten and Bliss chamber music on the Cedille label.

This is a great CD! The Oboe Quintet is one of my favourite pieces of chamber music.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2008, 03:06:41 AM »
Bliss is a composer whose music I admire and respect. In the final analysis however I don't feel that he can be rated as a 'great composer' or that he is in quite the same league as Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Bax, Brian, Britten, Rubbra or even(although I am not sympathetic to his music myself) Delius. Nor do I personally find his music as thrilling or inspiring as-in their different ways-I respond to Simpson, Alwyn or Arnell.

Proficient, well-written, admirable in so many respects but I find with Bliss that there is just that last ounce of inspiration missing that transforms music for me and touches something that makes me 'really sit up and notice'. I fully appreciate that this is an entirely subjective assessment which others will disagree with :)

The Colour Symphony-which Guido finds boring-I like but often find leaves me feeling that however well constructed it is as an orchestral showpiece there is just that 'something' missing that would have left me feeling that Bliss had put more 'heart' into the music.
The Piano Concerto is a grand exercise in the romantic tradition of barnstorming piano concertos but again......
I think that the seldom heard Violin Concerto is ultimately a better work than that for piano and deserves more exposure.
Yes, the Music for Strings is a fine piece in the great tradition of British works for strings but it does not stand up so well for me than the Tallis Fantasia or Tippett's Concerto for Double String Orchestra, for example.

'Morning Heroes' is indeed, as Jeffrey has implied, a work in which Bliss does seem to have put more of himself, where one can hear real genuine commitment, heart, spirit, inspiration....call it what you will. And, as I have said before on this forum, I would like to hear other choral works by Bliss like the Cantata 'The Beatitudes'.

My own favourite Bliss piece is actually the 'Meditations on a theme by John Blow'-a work in which I feel that Bliss is responding to a stimulus and which therefore goes deeper and produces more of a response in the listener. The Metamorphic Variations are also worth hearing.

Sorry for rambling...and I know that others will not agree with what are purely personal opinions :)

Offline sound67

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2008, 03:48:04 AM »
I share some of your ambivalent feelings about Bliss, though not concerning the Colour Symphony, IMHO a masterpiece of brilliant orchestral wirting, and a piece close to my heart (my No.2 of "desert island" works, second only to the Tallis Fantasia).

In the Colour Symphony, I find the peculiar mix of Elgar and Stravinsky particularly intriguing, and it is the early Bliss - strongly influenced, as so many of his compatriots at that time, by Petrouchka - that appeals to me most.

The chamber works such as Conversations, Rout and Madam Noy I find endlessly entertaining. Also, Introduction and Allegro is a strong piece, as are his ballets Checkmate and Adam Zero.

The Piano Concerto, frankly, has always struck me as a big dull dud (whether played by Philip Fowke OR Solomon), and the Violin Concerto meanders quite a bit - though I'd love to hear either of the Campoli recordings of it! The Cello Concerto I find attractive, if very "retro", and I think Bliss was suggested to Britten he should have called it a concertino instead.

Thomas
"Vivaldi didn't compose 500 concertos. He composed the same concerto 500 times" - Igor Stravinsky

"Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours." - Norman Lebrecht

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2008, 04:05:07 AM »
I share some of your ambivalent feelings about Bliss, though not concerning the Colour Symphony, IMHO a masterpiece of brilliant orchestral wirting, and a piece close to my heart (my No.2 of "desert island" works, second only to the Tallis Fantasia).

In the Colour Symphony, I find the peculiar mix of Elgar and Stravinsky particularly intriguing, and it is the early Bliss - strongly influenced, as so many of his compatriots at that time, by Petrouchka - that appeals to me most.

The chamber works such as Conversations, Rout and Madam Noy I find endlessly entertaining. Also, Introduction and Allegro is a strong piece, as are his ballets Checkmate and Adam Zero.

The Piano Concerto, frankly, has always struck me as a big dull dud (whether played by Philip Fowke OR Solomon), and the Violin Concerto meanders quite a bit - though I'd love to hear either of the Campoli recordings of it! The Cello Concerto I find attractive, if very "retro", and I think Bliss was suggested to Britten he should have called it a concertino instead.

Thomas

If you would like I could upload a Campoli recording of the Violin Concerto. I have the 1968 recording with Campoli and the BBC Symphony orchestra with the composer conducting.

Offline Guido

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2008, 04:10:24 AM »
Bliss is a composer whose music I admire and respect. In the final analysis however I don't feel that he can be rated as a 'great composer' or that he is in quite the same league as Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Bax, Brian, Britten, Rubbra or even(although I am not sympathetic to his music myself) Delius. Nor do I personally find his music as thrilling or inspiring as-in their different ways-I respond to Simpson, Alwyn or Arnell.

Proficient, well-written, admirable in so many respects but I find with Bliss that there is just that last ounce of inspiration missing that transforms music for me and touches something that makes me 'really sit up and notice'. I fully appreciate that this is an entirely subjective assessment which others will disagree with :)

The Colour Symphony-which Guido finds boring-I like but often find leaves me feeling that however well constructed it is as an orchestral showpiece there is just that 'something' missing that would have left me feeling that Bliss had put more 'heart' into the music.
The Piano Concerto is a grand exercise in the romantic tradition of barnstorming piano concertos but again......
I think that the seldom heard Violin Concerto is ultimately a better work than that for piano and deserves more exposure.
Yes, the Music for Strings is a fine piece in the great tradition of British works for strings but it does not stand up so well for me than the Tallis Fantasia or Tippett's Concerto for Double String Orchestra, for example.

'Morning Heroes' is indeed, as Jeffrey has implied, a work in which Bliss does seem to have put more of himself, where one can hear real genuine commitment, heart, spirit, inspiration....call it what you will. And, as I have said before on this forum, I would like to hear other choral works by Bliss like the Cantata 'The Beatitudes'.

My own favourite Bliss piece is actually the 'Meditations on a theme by John Blow'-a work in which I feel that Bliss is responding to a stimulus and which therefore goes deeper and produces more of a response in the listener. The Metamorphic Variations are also worth hearing.

Sorry for rambling...and I know that others will not agree with what are purely personal opinions :)

Have you heard the cello concerto? This is my favourite work by Bliss - and not just because it is a cello concerto - the incredible beauty of cello writing and the way the line sails above the orchestra is just astonishigly brilliant. One of my favourite pieces of music. Although the idiom is old fashioned in a sense, the writing is still very fresh and his use of tonality is not at all tired - very personal - this couldn't have been written by anyone else.  

Tim Hugh's recording is the best one available I think - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bliss-Cello-Concerto-Music-Strings/dp/B00000147T/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1221224572&sr=8-1 The review is mine. There is also a recording by Arto Noras that I believe was recently released on CD - this is an equally fine reading. There is another recording by a female cellist whose name escapes me at the moment - don't worry it's not very good. I comment on the Wallfisch and Cohen in the review.

On a side note... Cohen is a weird cellist actually - very rough in live performances so that he produces a huge sound whcih is unpleasant to sit too close to. But in some of his studio recordings he produces the most glorious tone - for instance in the Gruber concerto (which you must hear if you haven't) - probably the hardest cello concerto ever written, barring perhaps Schnittke's second - he produces a performance of immesne beauty. In the Bliss I was rather disappointed.
Geologist.

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Offline sound67

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #33 on: September 12, 2008, 04:13:09 AM »
Quote
If you would like I could upload a Campoli recording of the Violin Concerto. I have the 1968 recording with Campoli and the BBC Symphony orchestra with the composer conducting.

That would be nice.  ;)

Further on Bliss, I think his later career was stifled by his job as Master of the Queen's Musick. He wrote very little of value after 1953. Same had happened to Bax before.

I was reminded of it yesterday when I read that the present Poet Laureate is complaining that the appointment caused a writer's block and may have ruined his career.  :(

Another very fine, perhaps, on reflection, the most important of Bliss' works is his exemplary film score for Things to Come, a milestone in British film music.

Thomas
"Vivaldi didn't compose 500 concertos. He composed the same concerto 500 times" - Igor Stravinsky

"Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours." - Norman Lebrecht

Offline Est.1965

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #34 on: September 12, 2008, 04:14:58 AM »
Miracle in the Gorbals - Sir Arthur Bliss.
Queensland SO - Christopher Lyndon-Gee
NAXOS



Obviously I was attracted to this, the Gorbals being only two miles away from where I live (now a cosmopolitan area, not the run down slum it was in 1943 when this was written).

Puccinis 'Tosca' was once slayed as a "shabby little shocker" - and that is exactly what the story of this ballet score is - but a beautiful and haunting shabby shocker!  Anyone else got it / heard it?
Dear Hans Rott
In the 1980s there was a creative punk group called "Big Audio Dynamite".  I have decided to apply the term to you, my man.  And I still haven't properly finished your Screenplay yet.  Too bad.  Take care anyway old chum, I'm off to listen to Brahms!
Kind regards, John

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #35 on: September 12, 2008, 04:17:02 AM »
Have you heard the cello concerto? This is my favourite work by Bliss - and not just because it is a cello concerto - the incredible beauty of cello writing and the way the line sails above the orchestra is just astonishigly brilliant. One of my favourite pieces of music. Although the idiom is old fashioned in a sense, the writing is still very fresh and his use of tonality is not at all tired - very personal - this couldn't have been written by anyone else.  

Tim Hugh's recording is the best one available I think - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bliss-Cello-Concerto-Music-Strings/dp/B00000147T/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1221224572&sr=8-1 The review is mine. There is also a recording by Arto Noras that I believe was recently released on CD - this is an equally fine reading. There is another recording by a female cellist whose name escapes me at the moment - don't worry it's not very good. I comment on the Wallfisch and Cohen in the review.

On a side note... Cohen is a weird cellist actually - very rough in live performances so that he produces a huge sound whcih is unpleasant to sit too close to. But in some of his studio recordings he produces the most glorious tone - for instance in the Gruber concerto (which you must hear if you haven't) - probably the hardest cello concerto ever written, barring perhaps Schnittke's second - he produces a performance of immesne beauty. In the Bliss I was rather disappointed.


I do know the Cello Concerto but the two recordings I have are the Wallfisch and the Cohen so perhaps I should take your advice and listen to Tim Hugh's recording :)

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #36 on: September 12, 2008, 04:17:44 AM »
That would be nice.  ;)

Further on Bliss, I think his later career was stifled by his job as Master of the Queen's Musick. He wrote very little of value after 1953. Same had happened to Bax before.

I was reminded of it yesterday when I read that the present Poet Laureate is complaining that the appointment caused a writer's block and may have ruined his career.  :(

Another very fine, perhaps, on reflection, the most important of Bliss' works is his exemplary film score for Things to Come, a milestone in British film music.

Thomas

Watch this space then!

Offline Guido

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #37 on: September 12, 2008, 05:32:51 AM »
I do know the Cello Concerto but the two recordings I have are the Wallfisch and the Cohen so perhaps I should take your advice and listen to Tim Hugh's recording :)

This also has the advantage of being coupled with a good recording of the music for strings and also the wonderful two studies from his youth - his first orchestral works but just brilliant little pieces. (and its cheapness!)
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #38 on: September 12, 2008, 05:55:35 AM »
I missed the Two Studies on this CD because Naxos does not advertise them on the cover! I shall certainly buy the CD now!!

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #39 on: September 12, 2008, 06:03:10 AM »
The Bliss Violin Concerto-Alfredo Campoli with the BBC Symphony Orchestra(the composer)-1968 performance.

http://www.mediafire.com/?vw2jqwdcmov

http://www.mediafire.com/?mhkibprub9r

http://www.mediafire.com/?b7swzmqc43v